Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
Kentucky National Guard Soldiers Rescue Teens from Icy Water

Press Release Date:  Friday, February 06, 2009  
Contact Information:  1st Lt. Kyle Key
Public Affairs Officer, Kentucky Department of Military Affairs

Sgt. Matthew S. Hamilton and Sgt. Michael A. Clary of Headquarters Company, 206th Engineers, assisted local law enforcement with pulling the victims from the water after the vehicle they were riding in slid off of the roadway and into the creek.

"We monitored the sheriff’s radio all night, waiting for them to actually call us for anything they needed help with," said Clary. "We heard them (on the radio) and (the authorities) couldn’t figure out how to get to them," he said.

That’s when the two Soldiers headed to the scene.

According to Chief Deputy Lt. Col. Jeff Jones, Daviess County Sherriff’s Department, the vehicle had already filled with water by the time emergency officials arrived, noting that the temperature at the time of the accident was 10 degrees, with a wind chill index dipping below zero.

"They had to exit the vehicle and were actually on top of the vehicle when the 911 call was made." Jones said about the victims of the accident.

"They were all basically in a huddle," said Clary.

"I noticed that a couple of the teen’s jeans were frozen solid along with their shoes. A couple of them were crying. I remember one of them kept saying that she couldn’t feel her legs…she couldn’t move her legs."

Clary jumped in the water with a Masonville Fire Department volunteer firefighter to aid in the rescue while Hamilton assisted with calming the teenagers and moving them to the Soldier’s humvee for warmth.

After the last teen was pulled from the vehicle, the two Soldiers delivered them to awaiting ambulances where they were taken to the Owensboro Medical Health System where they were treated and released.

"We went out there and helped," Hamilton said. "We had the fire department, the Owensboro Police Department, the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department, first responders, paramedics and volunteer firefighters. There were a lot of people out there and I feel that it was a big team effort and we just did our part of it."

First Lt. Bradley R. Youngman, acting commander for Headquarter Company, 206th Engineers, said he is extremely proud of his Soldiers.

"If the call came in and I was here and somebody said, ‘hey I need two people to come out here and help the fire department rescue these people,’ these are two of the guys I would think of," said Youngman.

"I’m intensely proud and relieved that these guys were able to take the initiative and they didn’t sit and wait till somebody asked," he said. "Anytime a mission you can’t plan goes well, that’s just icing on the cake as far as I’m concerned."

Including the Soldiers of Headquarter Company, 206th Engineers, there are 4,600 National Guard Army and Air troops on the ground throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky after Gov. Steve Beshear activated the entire Kentucky National Guard Jan. 30 after an ice storm blanketed the state, leaving thousands without power.